Leonard Cohen on “The Law” & Guilt

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[The Law is] about our current dismal catastrophe. It’s about the Age of post-guilt. Guilt has been given a very bad name. There are entire medical industries that are devoted to describing guilt as a disease. Actually it’s the only way that we know that we’ve done something wrong.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

Introduction to “The Law” at the June 8, 1985 San Francisco show. Accessed at Leonard Cohen Prologues – The Law

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Guilt has gotten a lot of bad press lately. Guilt is the only way we know we’ve done something wrong.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

Introduction to “The Law” at the June 9, 1985 Wiltern Theatre, Los Angeles, Accessed at the review of the show by Ethlie Ann Vare in Billboard (June 29, 1985)

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Yes, guilt is a very under-estimated emotion. It has a lot of bad press today, guilt has. Actually, it is the only way we know when we’re doing a wrong thing. quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

Introduction to “The Law” at the December 4, 1988 Mannheim concert, Accessed at Leonard Cohen Prologues – The Law

Credit Due Department: Photo by Pete Purnell

Video: Leonard Cohen Performs The Law – Radio Télévision Suisse 1985

The good news is that this is a video of a rare live performance of The Law by Leonard Cohen. The bad news is that the performance is interrupted by interview segments, either spoken or overdubbed in French. Why did anyone ever think that breaking up a song for a Q&A was a good idea?  (Note; I’ve been informed by Francis Mus, a French-speaking Leonard Cohen authority, that the interview portions offer little new to viewers.)

From the YouTube introduction [via Google Translate]:

Invited to the Midi Public stage in 1985, Leonard Cohen sings “The Law” and talks about his music. The Canadian singer is on a European tour for the release of his latest album “Various Positions”.